From the NY Times:
An analysis of campaign finance records shows that the top 10 individual donors to House and Senate members from New York include some of the nation’s leading figures in real estate, energy, finance and law. Together, they gave slightly more than $381,000 last year.
Among organizations, the city’s white-shoe law firms and labor unions were the biggest givers, collectively contributing $1.5 million last year.
Five major labor unions gave nearly $740,000 total to New York’s representatives in Congress, while a trial lawyers’ group, the American Association for Justice, gave $176,000 to New York’s delegation.
The donors’ motivations vary widely, from a desire to protect their business interests to ideological allegiance to personal loyalty to concern over foreign policy. And they enjoy a level of access to the government that is unavailable to most people.
George Tsunis, who, along with his wife is No. 2 on the list of individual donors with $49,200 in contributions, said that his favored beneficiaries included three New York lawmakers who share his concern over protecting the interests of the Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey: Representatives Nita M. Lowey, Gary L. Ackerman and Carolyn B. Maloney.
“They’re all wonderful friends,” said Mr. Tsunis, the managing director of Chartwell Hotels, who estimates that he gave a total of $250,000 to candidates and party organizations across the country last year. “Congressman Ackerman came to my father’s wake.”
Mr. Tsunis, who also oversees his family’s real estate holdings, acknowledges that the money he gives ensures that his phone calls are taken by politicians. “I think it would be very naïve if I told you it didn’t,” he said.